My Pre-Chanukah Letter to Rabbanim Worldwide

Yosef Rabin,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Yosef Rabin
Yosef Rabin lives and works in Jerusalem and writes on a wide range of issues affecting Israel and the Jewish world. Yosef can be contacted at

My name is Yosef Rabin, I live in Eretz Yisrael and I am writing about an important question regarding the Har HaBayit and Beit HaMikdash. I understand that this subject is most unusual, but I humbly request that you read and respond.

In 2014 the RCA passed a resolution by a direct vote of the membership, imploring Israel “to accommodate Jews who wish to pray on the Har HaBayit.”, so perhaps there will be some interest. 

I should note also that I have had many conversations with Rabbi Leonard Matanky of Chicago (former RCA President) on Mikdash issues over the years (I grew up in Chicago) and I strongly suspect that he was the drive behind the 2014 resolution. 

Since moving to Israel over a decade ago, I have been very close with a movement called The Movement for Temple Renewal - התנועה לכינון המקדש. The Movement was founded by HaRav Yosef Elboim and his late father, Rav Dovid Elboim zt'l (Belz Chassidim) after the liberation of Yerushalayim and Har HaBayis in 1967. The idea was to prepare Am Yisrael for the re-institution of the Avoda  and the eventual re-dedication of the Mikdash after a nearly 2,000 year suspension.

While the idea seemed very radical, the idea is certainly not new.   

 In the 19th Century, Rav Shmuel Mohliver suggested the possibility of rebuilding the Mikdash  and he requested a letter of approbation from R. Yehoshua of Kutna.  R. Yehoshua, however, responded that rebuilding the Temple at that time would serve no purpose; in any event, the vast majority of the Jewish people had no interested in offering sacrifices.  R. Mohliver replied that a minority can bring the public sacrifices on behalf of the entire nation, and sacrifices could thus be offered even if the majority of Jews were uninterested.

The Keli Chemda, a student of R. Yehoshua of Kutna, wrote that R. Mohliver's response did not address the Rav of Kutna's contention.  The Rav of Kutna meant that if most of the nation has no interest in offering sacrifices, then there is no possibility of offering on their behalf.  The sacrifices have no meaning or purpose if the people on whose behalf they are offered are not ready for it.  The Keli Chemda thus concluded by claiming that rebuilding the Mikdash would not solve anything if the people are not ready for it; the Mikdash has no significance until the people show an interest in it.

There is a long history of attempts to awaken the Jewish People to the necessity of the renewal of the Avoda, but each attempt failed because the masses and the majority of the leadership were not ready.

1. Rebbe Akiva Eiger ztl requested of his son in law the Chatam Sofer to request permission from the Sultan of Turkey permission to bring the Korban Pesach. בשו"ת יורה דעה סימן רל"ו The Chatam Sofer replied that the Sultan would not allow. 

2. Rav Tzvi Hirch Kalisher wrote Drishat Zion in support of the renewal of the Korbanot and even sent letters to Rothschild and Montefiore to try to buy Har HaBayit from the Turks, but the letters went unanswered.

3. HaRav Yechiel Michael Turkinsky ztl who wrote לוח ארץ ישראל, used universally in Israel, also wrote a Sefer called עיר הקודש והמקדש where he writes about the restoration of the Korbanot.

4. The Maharitz ztl (Yichya Tzalach) - The great Chacham of Yemen wrote that there is no reason not to bring the Korban after building a mizbeyach in its proper place. 

5. The Chazon Ish ztl mentioned, wrote that once we have the permission of the authorities we must bring the Pesach. אהע"ז ס"ב

6. Rav Elyashiv ztl had a conversation in 1967 about the restoration of Korban Pesach with HaRav Noach Zimbalist, Rav Elyashiv told him in no uncertain words that every problem in regard to the Pesach could be found, however, we cannot bring the Korban Pesach because there is no Tzibur who wants to bring the Korban Pesach and we must wake up the people first.

7. Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi, HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu z"tl issued 4 letters on the topic of ascent to Har HaBayit and urged Rav Elboim to continue his work. 

The Movement for Temple Renewal - התנועה לכינון המקדש has been leading the effort for the last 40 years to wake up the Jewish People from their deep slumber over this critical issue and slow and steady progress has been made. The Elboim family were the first to begin re-creating Keilim of the Mikdash, sowing B’gdei Kehuna, training Kohanim, organizing public Korban Pesach training courses and of course brining Jews to the מקומות מותרים of the Har HaBayit in order to mentally prepare the masses for the great undertaking that lies ahead. 

I want to stress, we are not talking about trying to "bring Moshiach" through symbolic acts like going to the Har HaBayit or making Keilim, we are talking about a long term plan to re-institute the Avoda in our time! Why? Because the Torah demands it of us and the words of the Gedolim above prove this point. 

There is no question that we are very far from the end goal and the Jewish People are right now very much removed, but everything begins with a small first step. We are asking Jewish People (especially in the frum community) to help us in this mission. As Chanukah is soon approaching, we hope the light of the Menorah, burning in each of our homes, will fill every Jew with at least a momentary longing for the real thing in its proper place.

I am trying to raise some funds to help The Movement for Temple Renewal - התנועה לכינון המקדש continue in their important, difficult and holy work and I am hoping that you will call on your community to participate in our Chanukah campaign.


Donations can be made here

We are asking Jews worldwide to donate just $8 or $1 for each candle of Chanukah. I am sure most will spend far more on the Chanukah oil alone, so money is not an issue in this case. For many in the Jewish community a symbolic $8 donation will not even register on the radar. If many thousands from across America and other parts of the world will come together with just a few dollars each it will make a very big impact.

Perhaps this Chanukah we can together make the light of the eternal Menorah shine even brighter!

Thank you and I very much look forward to your response. 

Yosef Rabin